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My Bronco's other half.

32654 Views 327 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  El Kabong
Figured I'd make a thread on my truck and show what little I've done to it. I have a thread on FTE, but I spend waaaay more time here now and I let that thread all but die years ago, so why not.

It was going to be a much bigger project until I picked up my Bronco 3 years ago. It's pretty much been put on hold ever since, though I do drive it most days. I basically got it into good enough condition to drive and have been driving it without continuing to fix/upgrade it while the Bronco has been getting the special treatment.

I still have plans for it in general, but it's gonna be a while before they get enacted. Sometimes I regret getting the Bronco, because I now have two half completed projects instead of one that's done. At least they are both drivable and I can enjoy them for what they currently are and someday I'll have two completed projects!

I don't have any pics of it from when I first got it or of all the little things I fixed on it, but this pic was taken maybe a year later which is before I altered the exterior and it looks the same as when I bought it. It's a 1977 F100 Custom 2wd short bed. The truck right behind it is my old 1975 F150 Custom that had a broken engine and the maroon bumpside next to that was my old neighbors. I wish I still lived there, because, as you can see, I had a lot of off street parking.

I'll most likely be jumping all over the place timeline-wise with all the pics. On the day I took that last pic I was swapping wheels out. I had bought a used set of very cheap, very heavy (steel apparently) 20" rims for $160. I went to a local shop that specializes in used tires and basically bought some nearly done 245/45r20 tires for like another $100 to finish off my cheap experiment to see if I liked 20's.

I drove it like that for a little while until I saved up enough money for a 3/4 drop kit from DJM which consisted of 3" drop "Dream Beams" and a set of 4" drop shackles and hangers for the stock leaf springs. I was a little leery of c-notching the frame, so I opted not to do a flip on the rear. Here are a few pics of the hardware on the truck.

Because of the drop on the beams, they add what is essentially a spacer to lower the tie rods. The tie rods go through the radius arms.

And since we're in the front end, I replaced the radius arm bushings and put on all new tie rods and shocks. I also replaced the steering gear to help tighten everything up.

It's hard to get a good idea of how much it dropped with the pics I have of it. I haven't really taken a whole lot since I've had it, but this one next to my Bronco when I got the Bronco gives a decent idea of where it sits now.

And, as I'm not one to throw things out too quickly, I kept the old beams, shackles, and hangers. I still have them laying on my porch juuust in case I ever decide I don't want it lowered with the Dream Beams anymore. You'll also notice the big mirrors that were on the truck are sitting in the bed as well. In hindsight, looking at this pic right now, I should have kept the mirror heads as they were in pretty good condition despite being ugly mirrors overall. They would make good backups for my Bronco, but that was a good few years before I got my Bronco, so that was clearly not on my mind. There's also a 3g alternator off a Taurus that was meant for the truck and a black box holding the old halogen headlights.

Speaking of headlights, I added the fabled headlight relay kit. There's also a little black box for my LED headlights, though I don't recall what it was for. It was just part of the wiring that came with them.

Here's a comparison of the headlights I put on. The perspective of the camera makes the LEDs look significantly smaller than the old halogens, but they're not that small. There is a slight difference in diameter between the two, but it's like an 1/8th inch or something like that. They wouldn't have fit with the factory trim rings that hold them in place otherwise.

And, yes, those are halos. They're even green halos to "match" my green truck or at least that was the idea at the time. In hindsight I should have gotten amber halos and tapped them into my turn signals. I still may do that with some new headlights as these particular headlights really aren't that much of an improvement over the old halogens. It's only a matter of time!

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Long story short, Texas trip plans fell through. Maybe another time this summer or fall, perhaps with a new engine of course, which would be even better.

I did take a very short camping trip with a friend for a night. Essentially a test run of sorts.

Truck was basically maxed out as far as a comfortable weight on the rear springs and still having enough suspension travel to not bottom out while driving. I didn't use everything I took, but I took everything I would take if I took my kids camping for the weekend.

So, dogs went in the bed in their crate. I got them a new comfy bed and put it in with them. Tarp went on top and I strapped it down, that was the only thing I had on hand that I figured would give them some decent shade. The airflow from driving should keep them pretty cool.

The engine 100% is not a fan of camping. lol. This thing is underpowered when it's hauling nothing, so this was even worse of course. 60-65 max on very level roads. Slight inclines and you're down to 50 quick. Hills you're running it up to 70 before you start the hill and then finishing around 40 as you crest.

We went to where I took my kids last time in my Bronco and it's a long descent down the mountain to the reservoir and then of course the return trip is a long winding uphill journey. The truck did about 30-35 up those hills on the way home. I just held it in second and didn't push it hard.

I can take first up to 50 with the gearing I have, I've done it empty when entering the freeway, but I wasn't about to risk needing a tow because I got impatient and pushed the engine as hard as it could go.

I didn't really take much in the way of pics or videos, but the water level was waaaay higher and faster than the last time I went which was in 2021. I was driving my Bronco where there's currently water now.

The river was flowing hard as well. I didn't play with the dogs in the river like I did last time, I don't think I'd see them again. lol. They did get wet though, my German Shepherd is a water dog. A lot of roads were closed due to the snow pack from this winter. I was told by a local that it should clear up over the next couple weeks.

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Took another excursion to Pine. This time I took my kids and stayed much longer. They didn't have school on Friday, so I got them early from their mom on Thursday evening and then we left around midnight, because dad is a mad man and his girls are ok with it.

"When are we gonna leave dad? As soon as I finish wiring up a way to charge my phone in this truck!". I like the look of the cigarette lighter delete on my dash, but it leaves me no way to charge anything of course and going on a trip for three days on a single cell phone charge is difficult.

I'll keep this as short as I can as I'm always wordy. I added a single cigarette lighter socket and then plugged in a cigarette lighter adapter that's basically a power strip for car chargers and it has some USB A sockets.

Unfortunately, they only support slow charging instead of the fast charging most new devices use these days, but I'll take a slow charge over no charge. I may be able to fill one of the car charger sockets with an adapter that has some fast charger sockets. It's adapters all the way down.

I originally got the adapter for my Bronco (why it's red) as I was going to plug my GPS speedo into it that uses a car charger style plug and I still wanted to be able to plug in other things if needed. Anyway, on a long drive like this was, the slow charging suffices.

I may move the socket to a spot where it can't be seen. I'll have to lengthen the ground or just screw it in in a different spot. The adapter is clearly meant to be mounted other than how I have it, but outside of the upside down volt display, I like this orientation.

I had a cigarette lighter laying around from, I think, a bumpside truck in the wrecking yard, so I tossed that in to show my kids what and how one of these work as they're no longer in cars these days. I don't smoke, but it might come in handy some day if trying to start a fire with no matches or lighter, etc.

The voltage changes in real time, of course, and it's neat to see how things affect it.

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Here are some pics from this last weekend. The weather was what most people would call garbage. It rained off and on all weekend and we occasionally got some hail, but.. we also got some nice clear skies and sunshine as well. A real mixed bag. It actually started to hail right as I was getting ready to wind the camper down midday on Sunday, so I was hauling butt right then. lol.

My kids didn't seem to mind the weather and I grew up in Washington where my parents took us camping in various weather conditions at places like Mt. Rainier, so I guess it was kind of a throw back to very young me. We never had a camper though, so I guess I'm spoiled now. lol. If I can manage to get this heap of a truck straightened out (still not performing like it should), I'd like to take them there (Mt. Rainier) among other places.

Due mostly to the weather, there weren't a whole lot of people, so we had this entire strip (it's pretty long) next to the river to ourselves. I keep coming back to this specific area and I don't know why, there are a lot of other places to pull off the road and set up camp for no $$ like this one.

This portion is where I was driving my Bronco around a couple years ago. I crept around slowly knowing it wasn't very deep. I actually did hit the bottom with my skeg/prop closer to the tall grass in front of us and had to reverse out.

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And then these showed up on Thursday before I went and got my kids for our camping trip. I just popped one open and made sure there was actually a head inside.

The only discrepancy I found, and one that I'll have the machine shop verify for me, is the cc of the head. There's a label (that I forgot to take a pic of, of course) that describes the contents of the box and it said either 58 or 59 cc on it, I can't remember. The description online, both on Summit and AFR's own webpage (and probably elsewhere), says 64 cc.

I was concerned when I first opened the box, but was then relieved when I removed the head from the foam and found the source of the hp these heads provide.

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Gettin' antsy in the pantsy. I'm gonna see if I can apply a little bit of pressure on the machine shop and see if they'll get this 347 going. I'm done waiting and ready to offload my accumulated parts and pay for the thing. I know they have completed engines they are waiting on customers to pay for and pick up, but I'm not one of those customers. I come get it when it's done and pay cash, their favorite kind of customer.

I swung by the shop I previously went to that does custom metal fab and spoke with the owner there. Apparently he, like everyone else I go to, is short handed.

He remembered me and what I wanted though, so that's a plus. He said to bring the truck by next Wednesday and he'll look it over and give me an idea on cost to have things fabbed. I'll put the contour bumper back on and take my hitch over. I'm gonna aim for a hidden hitch setup if he can make it work for a reasonable price, otherwise I'm just going to have it put as close to the bottom of the bumper as possible.

In the meantime, I've been tinkering with the '95 Kawasaki KE100 I picked up last year. This one is in beater-ish condition, but I'd prefer it that way for something that might get dumped a time or two once I let my kids try it out. Might be a little while though. I'll get some pics of it once I get back to working on it. I need to order some parts and they seem to only be available via Ebay for this thing.

It runs, but it needs a few things. All it really needed to be usable last year was a new tube for the front tire as it was flat, but a couple things have developed as I've had it sitting in the elements over the winter. That and I've discovered some hacky fixes on things here and there. It's a case of me not knowing yet another platform I'm new to, which is dirtbikes/motorcycles.

So, it needs a new fuel tank petcock as this one sprung a very slow leak over winter and drained the tank. I checked it, thinking maybe the screws were loose or the leak was going down the threads, but it's internal and the leak rate changes when you change from on/off/reserve. It's a cheap part at least.

Also needs a gasket or two for the carb cover. It didn't have one and if you went full throttle the cable would hang on something and not return, so you'd end up with the engine just ringing out at its max rpm until you hit the kill switch. Loosening the screws for the cover so the cover would sit maybe 1/16" away eliminated that problem and after researching I realized a gasket was supposed to be there, so that works.

One of the rear chain tension adjusters is broken and has been "fixed" by jamming several screws into it to keep the chain taught. Not sure how I missed that one.

The horn didn't work, but I fixed that a couple days ago. Just needed to adjust the screw on the backside of it. The horn would vibrate if you hit the horn button, but would not sound. It took quite a while moving the screw around to find the sweet spot where it'd finally make noise and the "zone" where it made noise was very small, like a quarter turn of the screw from no sound to sound and back to no sound and it's a fairly long screw.

All the lights work, but no blinking from the turn signals. I tried a new flasher last year before winter, but that didn't change anything. Also put in a new 6v battery with no change. I'll continue chasing that one, but its not a real deal breaker of a problem, as I intended on using it off road more than on road, but it would be interesting to take it around town here and there if I can manage to get everything working properly.

From what I've read, the KE100 was the last street legal 2-stroke to be made. Not sure if that's true, but thought it was neat. Basically they couldn't keep up with emissions standards due to the nature of 2 stroke combustion, so that ended that and the last year made was in 2001. Made from 76-01, pretty long run and little changed over the years apparently.
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Alright. Got a couple parts in for the KE100. Basically everything that isn't NOS or pulled from a parts bike is aftermarket chinese stuff via ebay for this thing. You're not going to Napa or your Kawasaki dealer for parts outside of a light bulb or inner tube.

Anyway, got my ebay fuel petcock and it works. However, the selector on it sits closer in towards the bike than the old one, so when you flip it up to reserve, the selector hits the tank. I had to wack off somewhere around 1/8"-1/4" off the end of the selector to get it to clear. At least I got more use out of the dremel I bought to work on my truck's fuel sending unit.

Before I do anything else to it, I'm gonna take it to the car wash and spray off all the dirt, grease, and oil.

As for truck news, I took it to the metal fab shop on Wednesday and had the guy mock up my hitch to see what he could do with it. Long story short, there was nothing practical he could do with it that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg due to the amount of labor needed to have it the way I wanted. It would require a lot of modifying which equals labor cost.

So, he's going to fab one from scratch for only an arm. 🤦‍♂️ To have it sit where and how I want, at the bottom of the bumper, requires very little fabbing though. He said he'd have time to do it Friday, so at least someone has some quick turnaround for me.

I was thinking, great, another brand new part I have that I'll need to sell and no one will want. Then when I got home and looked over at my Bronco I was like hey, let's just put it on that! I don't care if it sits lower on the Bronco than the bottom of the bumper, especially with it lifted, because that'll just mean a shorter drop hitch if I wanna tow the camper with it.

I don't think I'll drag it on anything either if I'm playing off road, especially with no stinger. And it'll give me a spot for a recovery shackle or d ring or whatever. It'd still need to be modified to have the brackets sit on the frame properly, but it's way less than what it'd need done to sit on my truck how I wanted it.
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Tried to catch the machine shop owner before the holiday weekend and that didn't really work out. He was doing a dyno session with some customers, so I didn't bother him with my inquiries. I just know every holiday he dips for like a week and I can't get a hold of him.

I know I could call him, but I prefer to get him face to face. Anyway, I watched a couple pulls of the 447 FE that they were breaking in and then left.

I got my hitch fabbed last Friday. I took the truck over to the shop around 11am and he had it made and installed by around 4pm. It's nothing fancy, but it sits where I'd like it to. I just need to get it coated, which I'll probably have it powder coated black along with my bumper brackets and bumpers.

I lined up my truck in front of my camper with the camper jacked all the way up to see what kind of stinger I'd need and it looked like I'd need the top of the ball no higher than the bottom of my license plate in order for the tongue to clear it, which meant a stinger with a 2" drop per the labeling on the stinger.

I haven't used it yet, but the plan is to hook up my camper after work tomorrow morning and yank it around all day and see if anything manifests itself. Some pics of the hitch as it currently sits.

That 7-pin socket bracket is the one that came with the 7-pin socket I bought and he just screwed it into the hitch. He was going to fab a bracket himself if I couldn't find where I put the premade bracket, because it sure took me a while.

Hole notched into the mounting tabs to clear the crossmember rivets in the frame.

The only thing I don't like after my initial look at things is the way he installed the rearmost bolts. Like, seriously, just jam it into the bumper bracket bolts and flatten some threads. I gotta remove all that crap to get it powder coated, buddy.

If it had been me, I would have simply backed out the bumper bracket bolts so the hitch bolt would clear and be able to be fed down the hole rather than up, like the other bolts are, and then reinstall the bumper bracket bolts. But I'm not a racecar chassis fabricator building some rando a trailer hitch. 🤷‍♂️
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It looks pretty good. It'll be sharp once you get it coated.

I've had enough trouble with those hangly dangly socket brackets that I've gone to using a hole saw thru the bumper.

I don't know if there's anywhere where'd you'd be willing to drill the bumper, but it's been a real problem solver here.

I need to do my pickup next. This one is currently held in place by wire after falling free again. Maybe I'll drill it instead of, or next to, one of the license plate lights. I already have one of those 7 pin connectors with a little 4 pin on the side, since both types keep coming up. That's been handy.
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